A critical dietary restriction (CDR) is a dietary restriction that is critical to one’s short-term and long-term health. CDRs include food allergies, food intolerances, celiac disease, alpha-gal syndrome, and a handful of other syndromes and autoimmune conditions. This is different from a general dietary restriction (DR) or special diet, which may include calorie restriction for weight loss, food avoidance for religious or ethical reasons, or “cutting back” on something such as gluten or sugar.

Those of us with CDRs read labels, call manufacturers, and use apps to find foods that are safe for us. We are constantly on the watch for threats to our health and even our lives that may be hidden in our food. For restaurants to serve us safely, the standard is the same: be sure our meal is free of the food(s) we are restricted from eating.

Though there is more public awareness for food allergies, Picknic uses “critical dietary restriction” or “CDR” in some contexts if the information is relevant to all CDRs.